You’ve been fooled into believing a myth.
Disruptive innovation. It’s THE thing that every startup founder wants to do. Changing a whole industry. Building something truly outstanding. Impacting the course of the world.
That’s what entrepreneurs do, don’t they?
Revolutionizing some aspect of life with this super innovative app, product or whatever it is.
That’s simply not what the large majority of successful entrepreneurs do. They are mostly concerned with with solving people’s problems. And once they found a solution to people’s problems, they focus on turning that solution into a business system that generates regular cash-flow for them.
Business is about solving a problem for someone, and receiving money from that someone in return.
Of course, that ‘someone’ is usually not just one person. It is a whole target market of people who are facing a particular problem. And that target market needs to be large enough for the business to achieve its financial goals.
That can be achieved either through:
- Scale: how many potential customers you can reach
- Magnitude: how much money you make from each sale
Regardless of which one one of the two it is, at the end of the day, you are providing value and receive an appropriate payment in return. That’s what a business does.
Yes, value can be generated through disruptive innovation.
For example, Airbnb has made finding a place to stay in another city much easier and cheaper, while giving home owners a way to monetize their property. They have created an amazing technology solution to a massively huge problem.
But at the core, they are still solving a problem.
They just come up with with unique solutions to be able to do that at a massively huge scale.
A plumber is solving a home-owner’s problem by fixing their broken pipes. A content marketing agency is helping businesses who don’t have the in-house capability to produce content that converts into sales. A coffee shop provides people with a place to connect with each other while enjoying a great coffee.
The scale of the solution might be smaller. But at it’s core, all of these businesses are doing the same thing which Airbnb does — providing value and solving problems.
Of course, there is still the rule of thumb:
“How much money you make depends on the size of the problem you solve and the amount of people you serve.”
What does this tell us?
It tells us that disruptive innovation is the way of creating a business that is of large scale. It is not, however, by any means necessary to create any other kind of business.
The question you need to ask yourself is this:
“Is that really what you need? Do you need to revolutionize the world to be happy? Do you need to be a billionaire to be happy?”
In most cases, the answer to that question is no.
In fact, it is mostly counter-productive for somebody to aim for such a thing. Because if they do, then in 99% of all cases, they are going to fail. Particularly if this is the first business, which they are building.
If you want to create a successful business, you will most likely need to start thinking smaller. All you will need to be doing is to find a problem that people face and provide a viable solution to that problem. A solution, which can be turned into business system that will keep generating money for you.
You won’t need to revolutionize anything.
All you need to do is to figure out how to provide real value.
Even if you aim is, one day, to create the next Airbnb, Facebook, or whatever, then it simply isn’t advisable for you to be working towards such a thing right now.
Before you can ever think about solving a problem of a massive scale and turning it into a massive business, you first better get some experience in successfully solving a smaller problem at a smaller scale.
Because you need to learn the basics of business first.
Start by building any kind of business. Solve a problem and turn that into a system which generates regular cash-flow for you, without requiring any involvement whatsoever from your own side.
Once you are successful at that, you will still have plenty of time to think about revolutionizing the world.
This article first appeared in www.medium.com
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